International MBA Students Surge As Total Enrolments Pass 30,000

mba enrolments australia

The total number of students enrolled in MBA programs in Australia surged past 30,000 for the first time in 2018 with a spike in international students driving demand for programs.

New figures compiled by the Commonwealth Department of Education showed the number of students enrolled in MBA programs in Australia rose just over 6% in from 2017 to 2018, after increasing 2.4% the previous year.


The increase in enrolments was made up entirely of international students with offshore enrolments increasing nearly 14% in 2018, while domestic student enrolments fell 2.4%.

The last three years of data has also revealed a shuffling at the top of Australia’s biggest MBA programs, with the Holmes Institute and its one-year, $28,200 MBA overtaking the Australian Institute of Business (AIB) thanks to a surge in international students enrolments.

The data shows Holmes Institute had 3,243 domestic and international students in 2018, compared to AIB’s 3,216 students. The University of New South Wales was third with 1,539 students.

International MBA student numbers grew 10% in 2017 and nearly 14% from 2017 to 2018. The big increase in international students was primarily the result of huge jumps in the numbers of students at the Holmes Institute (up 20% to 3,233 students) and Torrens University (up 57% to 1,119 students).

The Australian Institute of Business (AIB), which has previously been Australia’s biggest enroller of international students, fell 34% to 1,096 students, down from 1,666 the year before.

The increase in the number of international students accords with a growing trend by Australian universities and private providers to try and attract international students, who generally pay higher fees than domestic students.

Across the higher education sector revenue from overseas student fees has grown as a proportion of total revenue, from 15.5 per cent in 2008 to 23.3 per cent in 2017 (latest year available). The $1,.2 billion increase in revenue from overseas students from 2016 to 2017 accounted for 64.2 per cent of the total increase in all revenue for the same period ($1.8 billion).

Domestic enrolments fell at all but three of the top 10 providers with only the University of New South Wales, Southern Cross University and Griffith University reporting year on year increases from 2017 to 2018.



Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (